The undrafted 26-year-old Klinkhammer has been part of three different teams’ organizations, though that usually meant he was with their AHL club save for some occasional call-ups to the big show. For example: he spent four years with the AHL Rockford IceHogs, but was called up to the Chicago Blackhawks for a grand total of one game in 2010-11. Upon his trade to the Ottawa Senators in the 2011-12 season, he was once again assigned to the AHL squad, although coach Paul MacLean liked what he saw from Klinkhammer in a callup. That impression wasn’t enough, though, to keep him as part of the Ottawa organization and he signed with Phoenix as a free agent last summer.
This time, it was the NHL lockout that necessitated his assignment to the AHL. Playing with the Portland Pirates, he’s put up 14 goals and 30 assists so far this season, including his first career hat trick back in October.
Last week, he was called up for his first stint as a Coyote and suited up for the first time in that game on March 9. During the second period, he put up another accomplishment in that first game: he scored.
It was a nice little move of a goal. Klinkhammer just stationed himself off to the side in front of the Dallas net and caught Kari Lehtonen completely open, giving him all the time and space he needed to put away a pass from Boyd Gordon. Whirling around in excitement and disbelief, he also found that he wasn’t able to hug any of his teammates right away, although they did eventually flock over to him for celebration.
With a performance like that, putting away the game-winning goal, is it any wonder that he was named the first star of the game? Perhaps he’ll enjoy a longer call-up from the AHL and get a chance to score even more goals in the show.